No Place Like Home

2A still from To-Let

16/330 Khajur Lane. This was the address of a worn-down house in Karol Bagh with a signboard slouching on the gate that read Beware Dogs. In the summer of 1991, four boys walked into this place and started jamming together. They would become one of India's most popular contemporary fusion bands, Indian Ocean. But in 2009, the band had to move out to a new location in Sainik Farms as the house was being sold. National award-winning filmmaker Spandan Banerjee, had documented the displacement and concept of home in his film called Beware Dogs. He tried it again in the National award-winning You Don't Belong which had him sleuthing for the genesis of the popular Bengali song Lal paharir deshe ja. Now, almost four years after that film, Banerjee is exploring the concept of "home" yet again. This time, he calls it To-Let, in which Banerjee tells the story of moving, renting and living in the Capital.

"I am an eternal tenant in Delhi, happy to move and constantly delighted to revisualise my space. I have shifted umpteen houses in the city. In the course of any conversation between sets of people, one or the other person is moving houses or looking for one or shifting or leaving. This constant flux intrigued me," says Banerjee, about the 60-minute film. A Public Service Broadcasting Trust film, it was screened at New York Indian Film Festival last week.

Banerjee made Delhi his home almost 15-years-ago. "Home, belonging and rootlessness are ideas that Rupleena Bose (the scriptwriter) and I like to explore. It is a concept which is fluid, real and imaginative. It's a space where stories live," says Banerjee, who reveals that the film is about looking closer and turning the camera to simple and real things.

Shot primarily in Delhi and Kolkata, the film gets into the lives of a couple with five cats, a single man, a music band and the filmmaker himself as "everyone tries to understand what home means in the continuous cycle of migration and flux. Each of them are at various stages of unsettling, moving, shifting as a part of his/her displaced city identities," he says.

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